Who We Are

Founded in 2007, the Blackstone Charitable Foundation is committed to inspiring entrepreneurship globally. By leveraging the resources and intellectual capital of Blackstone, the Foundation empowers entrepreneurs, generates job growth, and supports the communities in which we live and work.


Entrepreneurship Initiative

In 2010, the Blackstone Charitable Foundation announced its Entrepreneurship Initiative, a global commitment to advance entrepreneurial thought and activity in the United States and abroad. Through the Blackstone Launchpad Program, the Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network, and Blackstone Innovation Grants, the Foundation encourages and empowers the entrepreneurs who create jobs and stimulate economic growth.


Supporting Communities

The Blackstone Charitable Foundation is committed to supporting the communities in which we work and live. Through the Blackstone Connects program and our general Grants & Giving, the Foundation supports organizations dedicated to improving the economic and social conditions of communities in need.

From its founding, Blackstone has dedicated itself to being a responsible corporate citizen. Our commitment to corporate responsibility is embedded into every investment decision we make and I take personal pride knowing that the founding principles and values the firm was built on 30 years ago still govern us today.


Innovation Grants

Through the Blackstone Innovation Grants program, the Blackstone Charitable Foundation makes annual grants to innovative non-profit organizations that spread the ideals of entrepreneurship, benefiting local communities across the United States and abroad. In 2015, the Foundation awarded $3 million to 20 deserving and innovative organizations around the world. To apply, or to learn more, click here.

Our Initiatives
Supercharging Local Economies
  • Blackstone LaunchPad

    CA, FL, MT, NY PA,
  • Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network

    CO, NC
  • Blackstone Innovation Grants

    AZ, CA, CO, DC, HI, LA, MI, NY, RI, SD, TN, TX, WA, MA, NJ, PA, IA
Hours Volunteered by Blackstone employees in 2015
"The Foundation makes many grants and the firm’s employees give generously of their time in an effort to have an impact on civic and charitable organizations that support our communities."

City Harvest

City Harvest

For over 30 years, City Harvest has served NYC as the world’s first food rescue organization, dedicated to feeding the city’s hungry men, women and children.

Learn more about City Harvest

Inner-City Scholarship Fund

Inner-City Scholarship Fund

Inner-City Scholarship Fund (ICSF) changes lives for better by providing families with demonstrable financial need the opportunity to give their children a quality, values-based K-12 Catholic education within the Archdiocese of New York.

Learn more about Inner-City Scholarship Fund

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) mission is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS is the world’s largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer. LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world and provides free information and support services.

Learn More about The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

New York Cares

New York Cares

In the summer of 2011, the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, partnered with New York Cares, the city’s leading volunteer organization, to launch our pilot community service program, “Blackstone Connects.”

Learn more about New York Cares

Project Sunshine

Project Sunshine

Project Sunshine provides free educational, recreational, and social programs to children facing medical challenges and their families.

Learn more about Project Sunshine

Year Up

Year Up

Year Up’s mission is to close the opportunity divide by providing urban young adults with the skills, experience and support that will empower them to reach their potential through professional careers and higher education.

Learn more about Year Up

Young Women’s Leadership Network

Young Women’s Leadership Network

Young Women’s Leadership Network (YWLN) supports two life-changing programs that empower students to break the cycle of poverty through education.

Learn more about Young Women’s Leadership Network

Harlem Village Academies

Harlem Village Academies

We are a community of educators in Harlem, working to revolutionize public education in our nation by building a K-12 public school district and an educators’ institute, based on the ideals of progressive pedagogy.

Learn more about Harlem Village Academies

Private Equity Foundation, UK

Private Equity Foundation, UK

The Private Equity Foundation (PEF) is committed to unlocking the potential of disadvantaged young people. By helping 4 to 24 year olds at home, through school and into the workplace, the charity aims to transform their life chances and drive down the nearly one million young people currently not in education, employment or training.

Learn More about The Private Equity Foundation

East Harlem Tutorial Program

East Harlem Tutorial Program

East Harlem Tutorial Program (EHTP) gives kids the opportunities they would have if they were born 20 blocks south. And we’ve been doing it for more than 55 years. We teach reading, math and science, provide one-to-one tutoring, prepare kids for college, help them get accepted, and build the social skills they’ll need to succeed.

Learn more about the East Harlem Tutorial Program



KIPP NYC is a network of free, open-enrollment public charter schools preparing students for success in college and in life.

Learn more about KIPP NYC

Robert A. Toigo Foundation

Toigo Foundation

For over 20 years, the Toigo Foundation’s mission has been to foster leadership development and accelerated career opportunities for diverse financial professionals. That also means cultivating an industry and work environment where all talent contributes and thrives.

Learn more about the Toigo Foundation



InMotion provides free legal services to low-income women in New York City. Their services are designed to address the united needs of women who suffer from abuse- most of their clients are survivors of domestic violence. They focus on reaching women living in immigrant communities who are isolated by language and cultural barriers.

Learn more about InMotion (Her Justice)
We are looking for innovative projects and catalytic ideas that can contribute to the economic rebuilding of the nation through entrepreneurship – specifically in regions where talent is strong, ideas are abundant, and our capital can make a real difference spurring job growth.

Amy Stursberg

Executive Director

Amy Stursberg serves as Executive Director of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, where she has overseen and led Blackstone’s Entrepreneurship Initiative, bringing four innovative programs to twenty states across the county.

Prior to joining Blackstone in 2008, Ms. Stursberg served on the transition team for Governor Eliot Spitzer. She also managed the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation’s award of $35 million in cultural enhancement grants and $30 million in community grants in Lower Manhattan.

Previously, Ms. Stursberg served as Director of the September 11th Fund and held various positions at the Office of Management and Budget at the Office of the Mayor in the City of New York, as well as at the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C. She has also served as a university administrator and foundation officer.

Ms. Stursberg received her BA with honors from the University of Michigan and her Master’s in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She was recently appointed to serve on the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE).

Tony Tolentino

Vice President

Tony Tolentino is a Vice President in the Blackstone Charitable Foundation.

Since joining Blackstone in 2010, Mr. Tolentino has been involved in the implementation of the Foundation's Entrepreneurship Initiative and the development of Blackstone’s inaugural community service and volunteer program. He manages and oversees the programs of the Entrepreneurship Initiative portfolio.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Mr. Tolentino distributed funding and managed programs in New York City with the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. He oversaw and managed grants totaling over $242 million to 25 community and cultural non-profits and city agencies.

Mr. Tolentino received a BA in Urban Studies and Geography from San Francisco State University and a MS in Urban Planning from Columbia University.

Tracy MacKenzie


Joan Solotar

Foundation Chair & Member of the Board of Directors

Joan Solotar is a Senior Managing Director at Blackstone, Head of Multi-Asset Investing and External Relations, and serves on the Management Committee. Ms. Solotar oversees the firm’s Multi-Asset Investing business, which develops and distributes products and services to meet the needs of institutional and high net worth clients. Additionally, she manages global shareholder relations, public affairs, and corporate services.

Before joining Blackstone in 2007, Ms. Solotar was with Bank of America Securities where she was a Managing Director and Head of Equity Research. Prior to joining Bank of America, she was a consistently highly ranked Institutional Investor “All-America Research Team” financial services analyst at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette and Credit Suisse as a Managing Director.

Ms. Solotar chairs the Board of Directors of Blackstone’s Charitable Foundation. She is also Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the East Harlem Tutorial Program and the East Harlem Scholars Academies. She is the recent author of a Harvard Business Review article entitled “Truths for our Daughters.”

Ms. Solotar received a BS in Management Information Systems from the State University of New York at Albany and an MBA in Finance from New York University.

John Studzinski

Member of the Board of Directors

John Studzinski is Vice Chairman, Investor Relations and Business Development and a Senior Managing Director of Blackstone where he holds special responsibility for a number of sovereign and international institutional relationships, as well as ultra high-net-worth families outside the United States.

Mr. Studzinski joined Blackstone in 2006 as Global Head of Blackstone Advisory Partners, which he ran for nearly a decade.  

A graduate of Bowdoin College, Mr. Studzinski also has an MBA from the University of Chicago. He joined Morgan Stanley in New York in 1980 and since then has spent much of his career in London, where he served as Head of European Investment Banking and Deputy Chairman of Morgan Stanley International before moving to HSBC in 2003 as a member of the Group Management Board and Co-Head of the Investment Banking Division. In 2007 he was voted Banker of the Year by The Bank of England.  

In November 2014, at St. James’s Palace in London, Mr. Studzinski received the Prince of Wales Medal for Arts Philanthropy, which complements the Prince of Wales Ambassador Award that in 2000 recognized his philanthropic work with the homeless. Since 2001 he has been Chairman of the Genesis Foundation, a UK-based charitable foundation he established; through partner programs it enables organizations in the fields of theatre, music and visual arts to nurture the careers of outstanding young artists, developing their talents and giving them access to influential mentors and valuable networks.  

In the field of the arts he is also Chairman of Create London, which connects artists with communities through an ambitious project program, and is a driving force of the Tate Foundation, which raises and invests money for the Board of Trustees of the Tate Gallery.  

Also Vice Chair of Human Rights Watch and President of the American Friends of The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry – which focuses on challenges facing young people, members of the armed forces, and conservation – he serves on the boards of directors of a number of organizations, including: in the US, Bowdoin College and the Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies; in the UK, The Passage Day Centre, American Patrons of Tate, The Royal Parks Foundation and The Royal College of Art. In addition, he is Chairman of The Benjamin Franklin House Museum in London and a member of The Atlantic Council, The Council on Foreign Relations and The Peterson Institute.  

John Studzinski holds the Papal honors of Knight of the Order of St. Gregory and Knight Commander of Saint Sylvester and in 2004 was awarded the Beacon Prize for Philanthropy. In 2008, the Queen's New Year’s Honours List named him Commander of the British Empire (CBE) for services to the Arts and Charity.

Sean Klimczak

Foundation President & Member of the Board of Directors

Sean T. Klimczak is a Senior Managing Director in the Private Equity Group and is based in New York. Since joining Blackstone in 2005, Mr. Klimczak has been involved in the execution of several Blackstone investments, including various Sithe Global investments (including Goreway, Bujagali, GNP Mariveles and SKS), Cheniere Energy Partners, Fisterra, PQ Energy, Utility One Source, Meerwind, Transmission Developers, American Petroleum Tankers and The Weather Channel.

Before joining Blackstone, Mr. Klimczak was an Associate at Madison Dearborn Partners. Prior to that, Mr. Klimczak worked in the Mergers & Acquisitions department of Morgan Stanley & Company’s Investment Banking Division.  

Mr. Klimczak received a B.B.A. in Finance and Business Economics from the University of Notre Dame, where he graduated summa cum laude and was elected to Beta Gamma Sigma, and an M.B.A. with High Distinction from Harvard Business School, where he graduated with the highest academic standing in his class and was selected as a Baker Scholar, a John L. Loeb Fellow, a Henry Ford II Scholar and a William J. Carey Scholar. Mr.Klimczak serves as a director of Sithe Global, Cheniere Energy Partners, Fisterra, PQ Energy, Utility One Source, Meerwind, Transmission Developers and The Blackstone Charitable Foundation.

Erik Lisher

Member of the Board of Directors

Erik Lisher is a Managing Director in the Investor Relations & Business Development Group based in New York.

Since joining Blackstone in 2003, Mr. Lisher has been involved in sourcing and executing a variety of strategic advisory, capital raising and restructuring transactions for companies across a diverse set of industries. During his tenure at the firm, Mr. Lisher has also been involved in many firm wide initiatives and currently serves as a board member of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation.  Prior to joining Blackstone, Mr. Lisher was an Associate in the Investment Bank at J.P. Morgan, where he executed various high yield, leveraged loan, equity capital and M&A assignments.

Mr. Lisher graduated magna cum laude from Wake Forest University with a B.A. in Political Science and received an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business.

Brian Gavin

Foundation Treasurer & Member of the Board of Directors

Brian F. Gavin is a Senior Managing Director of The Blackstone Group and is Chief Operating Officer of the Hedge Fund Solutions Group. 

Before joining Blackstone in 2002, Mr. Gavin was a Partner in Arthur Andersen's Hedge Fund Advisory and Capital Markets group.

Mr. Gavin received a BS in Accounting from New York University. He is a Certified Public Accountant.

Verdun S. Perry

Member of the Board of Directors

Verdun S. Perry is a Senior Managing Director and Co-Head of Strategic Partners, Blackstone’s secondary fund of funds business, which it acquired from Credit Suisse in August 2013. 

Mr. Perry joined Credit Suisse in November 2000 when it acquired Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette (“DLJ”), where he was an Associate in the Investment Banking Division before joining Strategic Partners the year it was founded.  Mr. Perry sits on Strategic Partners’ Investment Committees and his current responsibilities include fundraising, deal-sourcing, negotiating and executing secondary transactions and co-investments, as well as various post-purchase fund monitoring activities.  Previously, Mr. Perry worked in the strategic investments group at Bozell, Jacobs, Kenyon and Eckhardt, Inc. and in the Investment Banking Division at Morgan Stanley & Co.  

Mr. Perry received a B.A. from Morehouse College, where he graduated magna cum laude and was elected Phi Beta Kappa, as well as an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, where he was a Robert Toigo Foundation Fellow. Mr. Perry serves on the boards of The Blackstone Charitable Foundation and Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO).

John McCormick

Foundation Secretary & Member of the Board of Directors

John McCormick is a Senior Managing Director of The Blackstone Group and Head of Global Business Strategy for the Hedge Fund Solutions Group.

Mr. McCormick has overall responsibility for BAAM’s global marketing and client services functions. He also works closely with other members of senior management to establish strategic priorities for the Hedge Fund Solutions Group’s business globally and to ensure that those priorities are addressed on an ongoing basis.

Before joining Blackstone in 2005, Mr. McCormick was an Associate Principal at McKinsey & Company, where he worked with clients in the financial services industry on a wide variety of strategic and operational issues.  Before joining McKinsey, Mr. McCormick practiced law in Davis Polk & Wardwell’s investment management group, as Corporate Counsel at Reuters America, and as General Counsel and VP of Business Development for Norbert Technologies.  Mr. McCormick also served at the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Mr. McCormick received a BA from Vassar College and a JD from Yale Law School.

Bill Stein

Member of the Board of Directors

William Stein is a Senior Managing Director and Global Head of Asset Management in the Real Estate group.

Since joining Blackstone in 1997, Mr. Stein has been involved in the direct asset management and asset management oversight of real estate investments, including The Savoy Hotel Group, Extended Stay America, Boca Resorts, La Quinta, Equity Office Properties, Hilton Hotels Corp., and various other hotel, office, industrial, retail and multifamily investments.

Before joining Blackstone, Mr. Stein was a Vice President at Heitman Real Estate Advisors and JMB Realty Corp.

Mr. Stein received a BBA from the University of Michigan and an MBA from the University of Chicago.

Robert Friedman

Member of the Board of Directors

Robert L. Friedman is a Senior Advisor of The Blackstone Group L.P.

Mr. Friedman joined Blackstone in 1999 as a Senior Managing Director, working primarily in Blackstone’s Private Equity Group and also participating in the work of its Financial Advisory Group.  He served as Chief Legal Officer of the firm from 2003 through 2010, continuing for most of that period to also participate in some of the work of the firm’s Private Equity Group and its Financial Advisory Group.  He also served as the firm’s Chief Administrative Officer from 2003 through 2007. In 2012 he retired as a Senior Managing Director and became a Senior Advisor of the firm.

Before joining Blackstone, Mr. Friedman had been a partner of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett for 25 years, where he was a senior member of that New York City law firm’s mergers and acquisitions practice. 

Mr. Friedman has served on 12 different boards of directors of public and private companies over the past 15 years.  He currently serves as a director of Axis Capital Holdings Limited and YRC Worldwide Inc. He is also a member of the boards of directors of each of United Way of New York City, Nantucket Land Council and New Alternatives for Children, serving as Chairman of the Board of the latter organization, which conducts a variety of programs for disadvantaged youth in New York City who suffer from physical and mental disabilities.

Mr. Friedman graduated from Columbia College in 1964 and received a JD from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1967.

Donald (Dwight) Scott

Member of the Board of Directors

Donald (Dwight) Scott is a Senior Managing Director of Blackstone and Head of GSO Capital Partners’ Energy Practice. Mr. Scott is a member of GSO’s Investment Committee.

Before joining GSO Capital in 2005, Mr. Scott was an Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of El Paso Corporation. Prior to joining El Paso, Mr. Scott served as a Managing Director in the energy investment banking practice of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette. Mr. Scott is currently a Director of 3Bear Energy, LLC, Energy Alloys LLC , TapStone Energy, LLC, Giant Cement Holdings, Inc., Twin Eagle Resource Management, LLC and Compass Well Services, LLC.

He is a member of the Board of Trustees of KIPP, Inc. and the Board of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation. Mr. Scott earned a BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MBA from The University of Texas at Austin.

Christine Anderson

Member of the Board of Directors

Christine Anderson is a Senior Managing Director in the Global Public Affairs Group. She is involved in Blackstone's dealings with the press, serving as a firm spokesperson, and advises on government affairs. 

Prior to joining Blackstone in 2009, Ms. Anderson served as Communications Director to the former Governor of New York. Before becoming Communications Director she served as the Governor's Press Secretary and Director of Marketing and as Communications Director on the 2006 gubernatorial campaign. Prior to joining the campaign, Ms. Anderson was an Associate Director of Corporate Communications at UBS AG, supporting US media relations and specifically serving as a spokesperson for the US Wealth Management division of the company. During the 2004 Presidential election cycle, she served as a Deputy Press Secretary on the Kerry-Edwards Campaign. Prior to that Ms. Anderson worked as an Account Director at the Brunswick Group, a UK-based financial public relations firm and as a Segment Producer for ABC News' "Good Morning America." From 1999-2001, Ms. Anderson worked in the Press Office of the Clinton White House. 

She received a BA from The College of the Holy Cross. She was a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations and currently serves on the Steering Committee of the Blackstone Women’s Network, as well as on the board of The Blackstone Charitable Foundation.

Matthew Skurbe

Member of the Board of Directors

Matthew Skurbe is the Treasurer and Managing Director in Finance for Blackstone. Mr. Skurbe leads all Blackstone Treasury related initiatives, including cash and liquidity management, working capital management, bank and rating agency relationship management, and balance sheet risk management.

Before joining Blackstone in 2009, Mr. Skurbe was the CFO for Merrill Lynch Bank & Trust, a $35 billion bank housing several of Merrill Lynch's consumer lending and banking businesses. Prior to that role, Mr. Skurbe spent seven years supporting Merrill Lynch’s Treasury function and had previous roles with Amerada Hess and Arthur Andersen LLP. Mr. Skurbe is also a board member of the Association for Financial Professionals.

Mr. Skurbe received a BS in Accounting from Rutgers University and is a Certified Public Accountant.